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China Will ‘Not Hesitate To Start War’ Over Taiwan, Beijing Tells US

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Beijing will “not hesitate to start a war” if Taiwan declares independence, China’s defence minister warned his US counterpart Friday, the latest salvo between the superpowers over the island.

The warning from Wei Fenghe came as he held his first face-to-face meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.

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Beijing views democratic, self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if necessary, and US-China tensions over the issue have soared in recent months.

READ ALSO: UK Govt Cuts Ties With Imam After Muslim Film Protests

Wei warned Austin that “if anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost”, defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian quoted the minister as saying during the meeting.

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The Chinese minister vowed that Beijing would “smash to smithereens any ‘Taiwan independence’ plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland”, according to the Chinese defence ministry.

He “stressed that Taiwan is China’s Taiwan… Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail”, the ministry said.

Austin “reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the (Taiwan) Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on (China) to refrain from further destabilising actions toward Taiwan”, according to the US Department of Defense.

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Tensions over Taiwan have escalated in particular due to increasing Chinese aircraft incursions into the island’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

US President Joe Biden, during a visit to Japan last month, appeared to break decades of US policy when, in response to a question, he said Washington would defend Taiwan militarily if it is attacked by China.

The White House has since insisted its policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether or not it would intervene has not changed.

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Japan PM issues warning

With concerns mounting over China-Taiwan tensions, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida issued a stark warning at the summit: “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow”.

The world must be “prepared for the emergence of an entity that tramples on the peace and security of other countries by force or threat without honouring the rules,” he said.

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He did not mention China by name in his address, but repeatedly called for the “rules-based international order” to be upheld.

Austin is the latest senior US official to visit Asia as Washington seeks to shift its foreign policy focus back to the region from the Ukraine war.

As well as on Taiwan, China and the United States have been locked in a range of other disputes.

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They have been at loggerheads over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Washington accusing Beijing of providing tacit support for Moscow.

China has called for talks to end the war, but has stopped short of condemning Russia’s actions and has repeatedly criticised American arms donations to Ukraine.

China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea have also stoked tensions with Washington.

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READ ALSO: Ukraine: China Blocks EPL Games On TV

Beijing claims almost all of the resource-rich sea, through which trillions of dollars in shipping trade passes annually, with competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Austin arrived in Singapore late Thursday, and held a series of meetings with his counterparts on Friday.

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At a meeting with Southeast Asian defence ministers, he spoke about Washington’s “strategy in maintaining an open, inclusive and rules-based regional security environment”, according to a statement from the Singapore government.

His comments were a veiled reference to countering China’s increasing assertiveness in the region.

Austin will deliver a speech at the forum on Saturday, followed by Wei on Sunday. The summit runs from June 10 to 12 and is taking place for the first time since 2019 after twice being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Nigerian Minister, Sylva Wins Defamation Suit Against Jackson Ude In U.S Court

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva has won a lawsuit against the Publisher of Point Blank News, Mr Jackson Ude in a United States District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania.

It was gathered that Jackson Ude had in a publication alleged that the minister was involved in financial misappropriation.

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Among other publications allegedly aimed at damaging the reputation of the Minister, Ude had accused Timipre of paying the sum of ten thousand United States Dollars bribe to each member of the National Assembly in a bid to influence the lawmakers to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The former governor of Bayelsa State subsequently filed a defamation suit against the journalist.

READ ALSO: Petroleum Minister, Sylva, NNPC Boss, Kyari Sabotaging Refineries Investigation, Reps Alleges

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According to The Sun, Justice Joseph F. Leeson. Jr. who presided over the case, ordered Ude to take down all publications made against the minister via the Pointblank News website.

Part of the judgement reads, “Mr Ude will reasonably and in good faith take down, delete, and destroy all articles and publications that allege any criminal or other misconduct by Sylva appearing on the Point Blank News website and from Ude’s social media accounts, especially those publications in issue in this case.”

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Zelensky Warns Of Nuclear Disaster In Russia-Ukraine War

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of another nuclear disaster similar to that of Chernobyl in 1986.

On Thursday, Zelensky called Russia a “terrorist state” that is holding the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant hostage.

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At Ukraine donor conference in Copenhagen, the leader said Russia is more dangerous than the Soviet Union which tried to hide the Chernobyl tragedy.

“No one needs new disasters. We must protect Europe from this threat”, Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian head reminded the world that Zaporizhzhya is not only the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, but also the third largest on earth.

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Zelensdly said the response to Russia must be comprehensive, adding that his country needs the maximum amount of weapons and ammunition.

READ ALSO: War: Russian Military Aircrafts Fly Into Alaskan Air Defence Identification Zone

The conference was organized to deliberate on long-term support for military hardware and mine clearing.

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A number of representatives from more than 20 countries, including several defence ministers, attended.

Denmark promised it would support Ukraine with a further €110 million for weapons, equipment and training.

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Sierra Leone: 30 Policemen, Civilians Killed In protest Over High Cost Of Living

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The protest in Sierra Leone over the high cost of living has claimed the lives of dozens of people.

The deceased include eight police officers and more than 21 civilians who took part in anti-government marches.

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Thousands stormed the streets of the capital Freetown on Wednesday, protesting inflation and the harsh economic condition.

The government has declared a nationwide curfew in a bid to stop the massive protest from spreading.

Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh made the announcement on a television broadcast.

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Jalloh said it was high time the country returned to normalcy, adding that the authorities would no longer tolerate violence.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Protesters Set Fleeing Sri Lankan PM’s House On Fire

The military and the police have been drafted to strategic locations to forestall further demonstrations.

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President Julius Maada Bio, who has been asked to leave power, said his administration has a responsibility to protect every citizen.

What happened was unfortunate and will be fully investigated. I urge all Sierra Leoneans to be calm”, he tweeted.

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